Anthropology – Doctrine of Man 2019-09-21T11:52:05+00:00

 The voice of the CLASSIC CONSENSUS is one that has been accepted throughout history, whether sixth or sixteenth century, whether Africa or Asia, East or West.

The intention of CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY is to “set forth what is most commonly stated in the central Christian tradition concerning God” which runs deeper than the view of any branch of modern Christianity. 

ANTHROPOLOGY and HAMARTIOLOGY are a study of man and a study of sin, respectively. The doctrine of man, anthropology, is founded on the view of the origin of man. In contrast to the supposition of evolution theory, Scripture provides harmonious truths which are reasonable to the one who recognizes the Person, purpose and power of the Creator.[1] Regarding the origin of the soul-body relationship, neither sides of the traducianism versus propagation debate fit well with the notion that “the spirit returns to God who gave it.” The orthodox perspective favours the creationism view.[2]

Regarding the innocence of Man in the garden, he could choose to continue in his responsibility of doing the will of God.[3] His unfallen body, at creation, though capable of death did not know the inevitability of death, although it was possible. This possibility became a reality when Man yielded to the temptation brought by the serpent.[4] Death came as a penalty for sin.[5] A downward conversion was experienced.[6] This death was, an immediate spiritual death, an eventual physical death and a future second death (escaped by those who attain everlasting life).[7] Since then, until now, personal sin is universal.[8] In light of this we recognize that the holy character of God is the final and only standard by which moral values may be accurately judged.[9] The exceedingly sinfulness of sin is seen in the fact that it binds and enslaves us to a kingdom of darkness from which the ransom is sinless blood which Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God gave in order to secure our redemption and buy us back out of the slave market of sin.[10]

The classic consensus is that men and women are not automatons but endowed with free will. (Ephrem, Hymns on Paradise 1.10).[11] Thus, we do not have:

“an idyllic account of perfect harmony between creature and Creator, but of an ongoing struggle involving temptation, revolt, rebellion, and tragic alienation. Eden is disrupted. The revolt continues with Cain, the generation of the flood, and the tower of Babel. There is a rhythm of rebellion and judgment…” (Augustine, CG 16).[12]

Although man is ruined in the tragedy of sin, we have the gospel of the saving grace of God.[13] The Jews upheld a view of history in which the Sovereign God who created history would triumph over man’s failure in history to bring about a golden age.[14] They were likely referring to the Millennial Reign of Christ but the immediate hope of every believer is the resurrection made possible by Christ as the first fruit.[15] The Bible declares that, in every instance, whether saved or unsaved, the human body will be raised from the dead.[16] Chafer states that the body is as eternal as the soul and spirit of man[17] but I disagree. Historically there has been a debate around how much of the body’s matter must be present in the resurrected body. Augustine thought “all of it,” whilst Aquinas specified, “only that which is present at death.” This was a necessary specification since the substance of the body in new every seven years.[18] Therefore, I agree with Perowne who explained that only the principle identity need remain. It would be this principle identity that would govern the formation of the resurrected body at the resurrection allowing us to be recognized as who we were in our earthly life. Hence the conclusion that it is not necessary to keep any of the body’s physical substance, however, no part of the soul can be changed or lost. Gregory of Nyssa referred to the, principle identity as the “specific form” and said that it is glued to the soul.[19] In the interim, if we are rooted in Christ then we are living stones being built up into a spiritual temple of God.[20]



[1] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1983. Systematic Theology, Volume 2. 130

[2] William Greenough Thayer Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894),249-255

[3] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1983. Systematic Theology, Volume 2. 202

[4] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1942. “Angelology.” Bibliotheca Sacra 99 (393): 6

[5] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1983. Systematic Theology, Volume 2. 142

[6] Ibid, 217

[7] Ibid, 215

[8] Ibid, 235

[9] Ibid, 227

[10] “Delivered from the Slave Market of Sin”

[11] Oden, Thomas C. Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology (p. 159). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

[12] Ibid, 159

[13] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1983. “Angelology.” Systematic Theology, Volume 2. 226

[14] Cairns, Earle E. 1996. “Christianity Through the Centuries.” Michigan: Zondervan, 47

[15] “Bible Tools Topical Studies”

[16] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1983. “Angelology.” Systematic Theology, Volume 2. 149

[17] Ibid, 159

[18] William Greenough Thayer Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894), 495

[19] Ibid, 494-498

[20] 1 Peter 2:5

BIBLIOGRAPHY n.d. (accessed September 10, 2019).

Cairns, Earle E. Christianity Through the Centuries. Michigan: Zondervan, 1996.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. “Angelology.” Bibliotheca Sacra 99 (393), January 1942: 6-25

—. Systematic Theology, Volume 1 & 2. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregal Publications, 1993.

—. Systematic Theology, Volume 3 & 4. Michigan: Zondervan, 1993.

Oden, Thomas C. A Systematic Theology: Classic Christianity. Toronto: HarperCollins e-books, n.d.

Shedd, William Greenough Thayer. Dogmatic Theology. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894.

Tools, Bible. Topical Studies. n.d. (accessed September 7, 2019).